On this day in history, Jan. 8, 1790, George Washington delivers first-ever State of the Union address
America’s first president, George Washington, addressed the assembled Congress with the first State of the Union on this day in history, January 8, 1780.
Washington’s speech was delivered at Federal Hall in New York City – and covered a range of topics, including national defense, foreign policy, the economy and education.
America’s first president began by congratulating North Carolina on its recent union with the federal republic, according to History.com.
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This decision followed the state’s initial rejection of the Constitution in 1788 for not including a bill of rights.
The official Bill of Rights was eventually written and sent to 11 of the 13 states that accepted the Constitution before North Carolina’s ratification in 1789.
An illustration of the first president George Washington and his cabinet. (Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
Washington went on to outline the policies of his administration, designed by Alexander Hamilton.
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As the former commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, Washington was said to be cautious in addressing his support for the creation of a standing army.
Washington’s idea was controversial, says History.com, but he argued that “the provision of common defense will deserve special attention.”
President George Washington’s first cabinet, circa 1790. From left to right: Secretary of War Henry Knox (1750-1806), Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Attorney General Edmund Randolph (1753-1813) , turned back), Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton (175 -1804) and George Washington (1732-1799). (FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
“To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace,” Washington said, according to Mountvernon.org.
Washington also encouraged federal influence over some domestic issues, as he discussed federal issues, including foreign affairs and national defense in his speech.
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The administration at the time, influenced by Hamilton, was seeking more money and control over sectors such as agriculture, trade and manufacturing, as well as science and literature, History.com reports.
“Every valid end of government best answers the enlightened faith of the people.”
Washington said that achieving this would require a federal post office, mail roads, and a public education system, which he explained would strengthen the nation in his new Constitution.
General George Washington resigns his commission on December 23, 1793, before Congress at Annapolis. Painting by John Trumbull, circa 1824. (Archive of Universal History/Getty Images)
“Knowledge is in any country the surest basis of public happiness,” the president said in his speech.
“To the security of a free Constitution, it contributes in various ways: by persuading those entrusted with public administration, that every worthwhile end of government best answers the enlightened faith of the people: And by teaching the people themselves that to recognize and appreciate their rights”.
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Washington left his administration with the feeling that the welfare of the United States is “the great object to which our cares and efforts must be directed.”
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The President concluded: “And I shall take great pleasure in co-operating with you in the pleasant but arduous task of securing for our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient government. and equal.”
Angelica Stabile is a lifestyle writer for Fox News Digital.